Thursday, September 25, 2008
Designer Showcase: Samanta Shoes
Photo courtesy of Samanta Shoes
Hello, my Loverlees! Hope you all had a wonderful week and are anticipating an even wonderful-er weekend.
It's been a challenge keeping the news on FA'SHOE'NISTA! fresh since I've been back to the work grind but I want to thank all of my faithful blogging Bellas for keeping up with me and patiently awaiting my next post. I promise to get back to a much more frequent schedule and to catch up on my comments on all your lovely blogs.
Now to the meat of the matter. This month's designer showcase features a very talented Guyanese designer, Samanta Joseph.
I first learned about Samanta Shoes through one of the free local about town magazines you pick up from the grocery store. Thumbing through it's pages without much interest, I came upon a full color ad featuring a beautiful and fashionably dressed young woman, surrounded by the most gorgeous shoes and boots. I immediately went to her website and was very pleased with what I'd discovered.
The South American born Samanta Joseph has been passionate about shoes since the days of her youth, and her background is parallel to that of another well-known designer of spectacular shoes, Manolo Blahnik. Just as Blahnik's early childhood memories involved the making of colorful espadrilles at the hands of his mother, so too are Samanta's earliest shoe memories those of helping her mother design sandals at the tender age of 6. Blahnik's parents wanted him to be a diplomat and enrolled him at the University of Geneva to study law and politics. Samanta was also encouraged by her more traditional Guyanese family to pursue a more stable means of employment, resulting in Samanta's graduating with a degree in Computer Information Systems. I don't know about you, but I am very happy that these two fabulous designers decided to pursue their creative passions.
Samanta Shoes has received recognition in numerous magazines including Black Enterprise, Essence, Latina, and Inc. Magazine as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under the age of 30. Her high quality shoes have graced the feet of more than a few celebrities, including Tyra Banks, Rihanna, and Geena Davis.
I wanted to spread the word about a unique, online shoe store that caters to a segment of the fashionable population traditionally ignored by other designers.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: Samanta shoes is said to have unique comfort features. Tell us a little about that.
Samanta: Each shoe is first carefully constructed using a special shoe mold that is a hybrid of a flat foot, and a high instep. This ingenuity provides comfort on both ends of the spectrum, and all areas in between. Great thought is put into the arch support, heel height, and leather lining of each shoe.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: When did you decide to be a fashion designer and why shoes?
Samanta: You can’t learn creativity. You are born with it. I had a love for shoes and a knack for design, stemming back to my youth. Women have trouble finding stylish shoes with comfort, there are limited fashion options in larger sizes, and retailers are searching for new brands to create excitement. I knew that I could satisfy these gaps in the market.
Kimberlee Tall boot
FA'SHOE'NISTA: You are from South America, a region that is quickly establishing itself as a fashionable force to be reckoned with. When you were growing up, who was your inspiration fashion-wise?
Samanta: My mother was my inspiration. Her sophistication and unique style is timeless.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: Your story is like so many young designers of today who, after a less than fulfilling experience with the corporate machine, are making the risky decision to pursue their creative dreams. How long did it take you after pursuit of a more traditional career, to finally focus on your passion?
Samanta: I rejected many lucrative corporate opportunities in New York City, and decided to pursue my passion immediately after I graduated from college.
KRISTI Taratuga Sand peeptoe
FA'SHOE'NISTA: You have developed an impressive track record in the global press. What are some of your marketing techniques?
Samanta: Many new companies make the mistake of chasing the fashion press. The highest priority for me is to make sure that I offer superior products, and then the press seems to find me.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: What does the design process entail from inception to finished product?
Samanta: It starts with the creative process (my secret), samples are developed in my factories in Brazil, marketed to top retailers in the US, and then I do a final edit of the line.
VIV Red Pump
FA'SHOE'NISTA: The fashion industry is known for extreme competition and cutthroat tactics. What are some challenges you face in the business?
Samanta: It is important to maintain your integrity, while working in a very cut throat industry. People will copy your ideas, so you have to establish yourself as an industry leader servicing your niche, and then your customers will not be satisfied with cheap imitations.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: How did you raise capital for your venture?
Samanta: My Start-Up Capital Source: $1000 and a lot of hard work.
Expansion Capital consisted of: Reinvestment of Profits, Outside Employment Income, Real Estate, Savings, Friends, and Family.
FA'SHOE'NISTA: Though there is no one answer to this question, what advice would you give from your personal experience as an entrepreneur to those looking to succeed at their own business, fashion or otherwise.
Samanta: Every business needs a primary niche, and a secondary niche. Women have trouble finding shoes that combine comfort and style. In addition, there are limited fashion options in larger sizes. Samanta Shoes satisfies these needs. Entrepreneurs need to focus on building a brand by satisfying a gap in the market.
Establish good credit, and invest in yourself.
Don’t quit your day job too soon! Samanta Shoes benefits from the fact that my husband kept his job as a CPA at a major fashion retailer. This allows us to recycle our business income back into the business without suffering on a personally level.
FA'SHOE'NISTA thanks Samanta Joseph for her time and for contributing to the culture of glamour!
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